Showing posts with label rpg. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rpg. Show all posts

Friday, June 21, 2024

Kickstart Your Weekend: Working the (Other) Night Shifts

 Creating an RPG is hard work. You need to figure out what it is about. Choose the right mechanics. Write thousands of words, edit, re-write. Get art. Pay for all of that AND then figure out the publishing details.

But the hardest part? Finding a good name that hasn't already been used!

Take these two, for example; both began with the name "Night Shift." 

Nightbound

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/creativejamttrpgs/nightbound?ref=theotherside

This game began as "Nightshift" but it was so close to ours that everyone involved believed that a name change was the best course of action.

Nightbound does a lot of the same things that NIGHT SHIFT does, but it uses the "Powered by the Apocalypse (PBTA)" engine, so it will attract a different group of players than our NIGHT SHIFT. OR it is just as likely that there will be fans that play both games. 

There is certainly room on my table and shelves for both games.


Nightshift

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/exoticcancer/nightshift-0?ref=theotherside

This one is so different (and spelled differently) that we felt there was no chance of brand confusion. Plus, it looks like a lot of fun.

The designer is a former dancer and now an online personality, so she brings authenticity to the game and a solid artistic vision. 

--

I am backing both games. 

So yes. Please expect a future "Plays Well With Others" to feature these two with our own NIGHT SHIFT.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Retrospective: Wizards of the Coast's Gamma World

Gamma World for Alternity
Yesterday, I discussed the various editions of TSR's Gamma World. In 1997 Wizards of the Coast, flush full of cash from their runaway hit Magic: The Gathering, bought TSR and all their debt, becoming the owner of everything TSR had ever produced. This famously included Dungeons & Dragons, but also Gamma World. They would then produce some new editions of this game as well.

Each edition here uses a different set of rules, and are not exactly compatible with each other.

Fifth Edition (2000)

This edition of Gamma World was designed for the Sci-fi game Alternity. I'll have much more to say about that when I do my review and deep dive into Alternity later this month.

But like all the Alternity titles, this one is out of print and unavailable from DriveThruRPG. Thankfully, I still have my own copy.

This edition is notable for also (like the 3rd Edition) not being compatible with the then-current edition of Dungeons & Dragons.  This one appeared at the end of the AD&D 2nd edition era and right before the D&D 3.0 era. 

Gamma Worlds

Omega World
Omega World (2002)

This was an adaptation of the d20 rules to play a Gamma World-like mini-game. It appeared in Dungeon Magazine #94 and was a stand-alone affair. It is the odd child of the Gamma World family, and that is saying something, but it is a rather fun game in a tight little package.

This requires the D&D 3.0 game to play, not the d20 Modern Rules which would not be released for another month or so.

Sixth Edition (2003-2005)

Along with Ravenloft, Wizards of the Coast had Arthaus, an imprint of White Wolf, create the d20 Edition of Gamma World. This was a fairly robust edition with both a Player's Handbook and a Game Master's Guide. A Machines and Mutants book was also released, mimicking the classic three book format D&D has always used. 

That is not the only way it mimicked D&D. This version of Gamma World used the d20 Modern rules, making it to this point the most compatible with the then-current D&D (3.5). It also made it compatible with all of Wizard's of the Coast's d20 Future line, which included some materials from both Alternity and Star Frontiers. It was also compatible with WotC's d20 Star Wars.

The book titles are a little misleading. The Player's Handbook has the setting information. Character creation and most of the rules are still in the d20 Modern book, needed to play. The Game Master's Guide is less about running a Gamma World game and more about running any sort of RPG. The Machines and Mutants book, aka the Monster Manual, is pretty much what it says it is. 

Gamma World 6e Player's HandbookGamma World 6e Machines and MutantsGamma World 6e Game Master's Guide

Wizards of the Coast sought cohesion in the Alternity line, which they achieved by accident in the d20 era. This also means that the Omega World game is 100% (or 95-99%) compatible with this.

In truth, this is a solid edition that makes some solid attempts at updating the Gamma World mythology to better suit 21st-century technology and genetics. 

While it is not perfect, it is very playable and it was always in the back of my mind when I tried out various d20 sci-fi games.

Gamma World 7e
Seventh Edition (2010)

Gamma World came back again, and this time in-house at Wizards of the Coast. Gamma World 7th Edition was built on the same rules as D&D 4th Edition, and they are quite compatible in that respect. Gamma World characters tend to be more powerful and more random as befitting the nature of the genre. 

I know the least about this game. Though I did watch some people play it at Gen Con 2011 when it was released, and it looked fun, I'm not sure it felt like Gamma World to me. But I don't deny the people playing it had a good time. 

If Gamma World 6e was a serious grimdark post-apoc setting, then this one returned to its weird roots. I think this is one of the reasons I like 6e better than 7e. Also, I think the D&D4 rules, while I am fine with them for D&D4, don't click with me here.  The cards seemed a step too much for me.  Though I am equally certain I could mine this for ideas.

--

All editions though can be great fun, if you are willing to ignore the fact that levels of radiation talked about in these games would just kill everyone and not really make them mutants. But that is why they are Science Fantasy and not Science Fiction per se. None of that matters, though; the real reason here is to play a radioactive plant ape that speaks in a Cajun accent and swings a stop sign as a weapon.


Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Retrospective: TSR's Gamma World

Gamma World 2nd edition
A while back, I reviewed TSR's First Edition of the post-apocalyptic science fantasy RPG Gamma World

Since I am focusing this year on the 50th Anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons, it is only fitting that I spend so much time with its sister game, Gamma World. There are currently seven editions of Gamma World, all following the same general theme: It is the 25th Century, and the Earth has been nearly destroyed by some global cataclysm. The nature of this cataclysm and the amount of humanity that survived changes from edition to edition. 

All editions of Gamma World are credited to James M. Ward and Gary Jaquet. It was based on Ward's earlier sci-fi game, Metamorphosis Alpha. MA would give us Gamma World and the AD&D adventure Expedition to the Barrier Peaks.

The remnants of humanity and other beings now struggle to survive in a harsh and mutated world filled with bizarre creatures, dangerous mutants, and remnants of advanced technology. 

Like Dungeons & Dragons, players take on the roles of adventurers exploring this radioactive wasteland. They can choose from various mutant characters with unique abilities, ranging from humanoid animals and plant people to cyborgs and psychic mutants. 

Characters adventure in abandoned, destroyed cities, looking for the remains of civilization or something to survive in the wasteland. 

In many, many ways, Gamma World IS Dungeons & Dragons. There is no magic, but there are high-tech, weird radiation and psychic powers. Making Gamma World into a D&D world is not a stretch. The 1st and 2nd edition rules are similar enough to Basic-era and AD&D 1st editions to make translations easy. In fact, the 1st edition of the AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide has conversion guidelines. Gamma World 4th edition is also very close to AD&D 2nd edition to make translations there east too. Dragon Magazine #183 has a conversion guideline for Gamma Word 4th edition and AD&D 2nd edition.

First Edition (1978)

I reviewed this one in detail a while back. It is also the one I am most familiar with. 

Second Edition (1983)

This was one of the more popular versions of the game, coming out at the height of classic D&D's popularity. While I mentioned it is compatible with AD&D 1st edition, it has more in common with the Red Box D&D Basic that came out around the same time. It even came with the same sort of dice as the Basic sets. Considering that GW1 most closely resembles the Moldvay Basic set, this is not a surprise. 

Gamma World 2nd edition is compatible with GW 1st edition, and is generally the same rules expanded and cleared up. Even the adventures and products for this game kept the same numbering codes from 1st edition. 

This edition is expanded over GW1 and includes an introductory adventure. There are few more "monsters" in this one as well, but I'd need to set them side by side to figure out which ones are new.

Gamma World 3rd Edition
Third Edition (1986)

This version of Gamma World also expands on the earlier editions. Notable setting changes include doubling the number of humans that died in the apocalypse and the rules have changed. While characters are still generated the same way and all the stat blocks look similar there is an addition of an "Action Table" for rolling outcomes. The feel is similar to what we see in 1st Edition Chill from Pacesetter and TSR's own Marvel Super Heroes RPG's FASERIP system.  The system requires only a d6 and a d10. There are notes on how to use to generate other types of dice rolls. 

Unlike GW1 and GW2, this version was not as out of the box compatible with D&D to the same degree the others were. Characters, as did the monsters, still looked very similar, but the system was different enough to increase the incompatibility. 

The idea here was to streamline the game and make the action faster. Sadly, several errors in the game made this difficult. It did feature one of the first meta-plot arcs for Gamma World, but sadly was not finished in print.

Gamma World 4th edition
Fourth Edition (1992)

This edition of the game brought it back to its roots, so to speak. It is very compatible with the then-current AD&D 2nd Edition. There are some very interesting design choices here too including a good skill system and a very d20 like combat resolution system with "Ascending" armor classes. In some ways you could adapt this to AD&D for a near AD&D 2.5 edition that shows a good transition between AD&D 2nd ed and what will become D&D 3rd edition, but that is 8 years and a different company in the future.

Interestingly, this edition was also playtested over the GEnie BBS service way back before the internet became ubiquitous. 

The art in this edition features some of the best art from the "Four Horsemen of TSR," Jeff Easley, Clyde Caldwell, Larry Elmore, and Keith Parkinson.

Sadly, this was to be the last version of Gamma World to be produced by TSR. They announced they were going to switch gears and do a new version of Metamorphosis Alpha for their new Amazing Engine game line. 

The Fifth Edition, while published under the TSR name was really a Wizards of the Coast product and I'll discuss that one tomorrow.

Which one should you get?

All things being equal, I would go for the 4th edition rules myself. The 1st and 2nd have a great nostalgia factor for me, and while I have the 1st Edition, I likely go with the 2nd.

The 1st, 3rd, and 4th edition rules are all available as Print on Demand versions now. So that is also in their favor. I understand the 4th edition rules are very clean and a good print. I can vouch for the 1st edition rules myself. The 3rd has some issues, but I am also not a fan of the action table, so I am giving it a pass.

Friday, May 10, 2024

Kickstart Your Weekend: SciFi Fun

Lets hit some stretch goals!

Thirteen Parsecs

Thirteen Parsecs

http://tinyurl.com/13psignuptim

Thirteen Parsecs is funded!

We want this game to be your sci-fi RPG of choice, so help us make that happen.

This uses the same O.G.R.E.S. as NIGHT SHIFT and Wasted Lands. There will be "Solar Frontiers," which are mini-settings you can use to start your game. My Solar Frontiers will be "Space Truckers" and the currently titled "Dark Stars" my "horror in space" setting.


And this one from my friend David Flor and Darklight Entertainment.

Atomic Age

Atomic Age


This is a new sci-fi post-apocalyptic d20-based game from David Flor and Dark Light Interactive. 

It looks like a lot of fun, and is going for that "Gamma World" vibe.  The core rules look fun, but the bestiary has me all kinds of excited. 

There is a Quick Start preview you can grab for free. 

So definitely check this one out!

Friday, December 15, 2023

Kickstart Your Weekend: The MCDM RPG

 Interesting one this week. I am unsure if I am calling people to support it. My purpose here is often to shed some light on a crowdfunded project you may not have seen. This one though is at $3 Million right now so it doesn't need my help.  But that is not why I am talking about this one today.

But first, the campaign.

The MCDM RPG

The MCDM RPG

https://www.backerkit.com/c/projects/mcdm-productions/mcdm-rpg?ref=theotherside

This is a new big FRPG from Matt Colville (the "MC" in the name I am guessing).  It is obviously modeled on D&D style play and it is being pitched as a D&D alternative in all but name. Back in the day we would have called this a Fantasy Heartbreaker.

The game looks slick as hell and it will certainly be a lot of fun and look good. Matt does good work on his design so I have no doubt this will be a good game.

BUT...(there is always a but) there are a few things about it that I am not quite connecting with.

If you take D&D as the middle ground and go far out on the gritty/old-school side you get another wildly successful RPG ShadowDark.  Go the same distance in the other direction and you will have MCDM RPG.  Many of the selling points about this game read like "everything ShadowDark is, we are not." For example from the project page:

MCDM is
Compared to what ShadowDark say they are on their Kickstarter Project page:
Shadowdark is

NOW PLEASE UNDERSTAND. I am not trying to set up a MCDM vs. ShadowDark thing here. I think both games are great and their respective successes give evidence that both games are wanted and needed. AND (more to the point) both provide that D&D-alternative to those that want it. 

I think having a good D&D-alternative is a good thing given the bookend events from Wizards/Hasbro this 2023.  

Just as I don't click well with some of the things in ShadowDark, I also don't click very well with some of the things in MCDM.  I *do* want monsters to be able to avoid spells sometimes. I *do* want there to be a chance that the PCs can fail. I do want some grit. But I also want hope. My preferred gaming experience is somewhere in the middle.

Also, reading through the material, I get the sense that the design is not 100% complete yet. That is a red flag for me these days. When NIGHT SHIFT went to Kickstarter the book was done and playtesting complete. When Wasted Lands went to Kickstarter the playtesting on the new mechanics was done, the core rules were done, and the Gazeteer was nearly complete. Both games shipped early.  My concern is this game won't ship for a while.

I have seen online people calling this a "D&D Killer" which I have my doubts about. Pathfinder is a great game but it was not a D&D killer. I have seen a lot of so-called D&D Killers over the years. I don't think this one will be either.  But it might get WotC to pay attention. Maybe.

Even if it doesn't make WotC/Hasbro take notice it will provide a new game to people who love this sort of style and help keep role-playing going for a bit longer. Who knows, maybe I'll pick it up as well one day.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Review: The Last Sabbath RPG

The Last Sabbath RPG
 It's Halloween, and of course, I am always looking to add more spooky games to my collection. If they are witch-themed, then all the better.  Today, I am reviewing the Last Sabbath RPG.  I featured the Kickstarter last year and received my books this past summer.  It is a gorgeous piece of work, but is it a good RPG? Let's find out.

Last Sabbath RPG

Design by Atropo Kelevra and Valentino Sergi. Art and illustrations by Loputyn (Jessica Cioffi). The game was based on Loputyn's artistic vision. Paperback, saddle stitched book. Black & white (with red foil covers). 48 pages.

This is the English translation of the original Italian RPG. 

Last Sabbath is a Masterless, Journalling RPG for 1 to 7 players. Masterless in that no one player is the game master and journalling since the players will write down what their characters (all witches) will do in each scene.

Now, I am not overly familiar with playing Journalling RPGs, but I know what they are in concept. 

In this game, the players all play new witches who have gathered together in a Coven. Why? Well, that is what everyone will find out together. I say up yo seven people since that seems to work well with the structure of the game, but 4 might be more wieldy. It can also be done as a solo RPG experience.

The game offers many aids to move the players (and the characters) along. If this is the Coven's first time playing or this is a solo effort, then the authors suggest using the Scene Prompts instead of the divination techniques. That is a good idea, but the divination techniques add a bit of randomness to the game that I quite like.  So, at this point, what is required of the players are these rules, notebooks to journal in, a d6, and maybe some divination tools. More on those later. While a fancy journal would be a nice touch here, a regular notebook is also good. Since you will be sacrificing memories here as part of game play it is somewhat cathartic to write them down and then tear out the page.

The game setting is whatever you want it to be. That and the nature of the witches involved are entirely up to the players. 

Safety tools are recommended because this game encourages you to push the boundaries. It is all part of the idea that magic is both a gift and a curse. Bad things are going to happen to your character. 

Last Sabbath RPG

Game Play

The game is divided into Seven Scenes. The Call, Initiation, Danger, Investigation, Revelation, Threat, and Epilogue.  Each scene is then divided into 3, 5, or 7 turns (players' choice). When all players have done their Turn, you move on to the next one.

At the end of every scene, one of the Records (what the player wrote down) becomes a Memory. Memories can be sacrificed for Power to fuel their magic. But removing the wrong memory can cause a witch to forget why she is part of the coven. 

Turns are covered with some examples of a 3-round game plane for a Scene. 

Guidelines for play follow. Witches can ask one question of a fellow witch once per turn or answer a question on their turn. If a Power is used, then the affected witch must respond to that power on their turn. 

Power

Without magic, the characters are just people sitting in a circle. And while that would be a fine game, not one I would review here. Power is what makes witches witches.  Power comes in the forms of a Charm, Spell, or an Incantation, each with great effects and greater costs. Some incantations, for example, can cost the witch her life. So yeah, power comes at a cost. Some examples of powers are given, including origin and types. But the details are left to the players to figure out. 

Divination 

This just gives us a brief idea on how they are to be used. Details are given later with the various types of divination tools.

The Scenes

Half-way through the book we reach the Scenes, or how the game progresses. Anything can happen in a scene including the death of a witch. Players should not worry about that since they can introduce a new witch in the next scene.   Each scene is given some guidelines in the form of leading questions and some prompts. For example, for Scene 1: The Call, one of the prompts is "A call for help is heard in your mind" (paraphrasing). Witches can choose or they can roll a d6. 

All the scenes are handled in similar fashions, with Scene 7: Epilogue as the adventure conclusion. 

Divination Tools

This section covers various divination tools which are broken down by tool with examples for each scene. These include Tarot, Rune stones, Mikado, and Tea Leaves.

Tarot is likely going to be the goto, but there is a certain charm to the Tea Leaves, especially if you have plenty of tea on hand while playing.

Last Sabbath - Grimoire

by Atropo Kelevra and Valentino Sergi. Black & white art with red. 36 pages.

This is a Kickstarter add on for the Last Sabbath RPG. It has additional thematic prompts for the LAst Sabbath RPG. At first I was curious why it was not added to main RPG. But reading through I see why, the prompts are great but should be used sparingly since they could force the game into a direction not set by the players. They are perfect when the players might want some advice on what to do nest, or even for a second play through.

The art of this book is not from Loputyn, though it is good in its own right.

Last Sabbath RPG

Thoughts on this Game

My experience with games like this are a little limited. But this looks like fun and would work great in the hands of the right group. I see this as a good way to spend a rainy afternoon with some like mind friends over pots of hot tea. Save the Dr. Pepper and Doritos for D&D night. This is for orange zest scones and black tea. 

If you are the type that wants really crunchy rules, then I would say this not the game for you. But I recommend you at least check out something like it. 

Thoughts on the Art

The art is striking, evocative and perfect for the feel of this game. This is expected since the game grew out of the artistic vision of Loputyn (Jessica Cioffi). The art might be considered risquĂ© to American audiences, but for European ones, I am sure this is just slightly above comic book fare. 

Art of Last Sabbath

Use as a Session 0

Back when I first talked about this game, I mentioned it as a possible Session 0 for my War of the Witch Queens. I am more convinced about that than ever. 

In fact, I can see this game being interspersed with War of the Witch Queens adventures. Since the overall arc of that campaign is to discover who murdered the High Queen of Witches. 

Tea with the Witch Queens by Brian Brinlee
Tea with the Witch Queens by Brian Brinlee

I have some major NPCs (all posted with stats) that enter into the tale/campaign. For my play test of this I took them and put them all through a couple of scenes of this game to figure out what their motivations will be. It was quite fun, to be honest.

I can also see it working as a Session 0 for a NIGHT SHIFT game consisting mostly of witches. 

While I have the Smith-Waite Tarot deck pictured above, the perfect deck for this will be released next month: the Loputyn Oracle. It is published by Llewellyn Publications, pretty much THE publisher for all things mystical and witchy. Though it only has 32 cards, it should be fine for this game to be sure.

There is a lot of things I can use this game for, and I am looking forward to trying them all.  Now. time to put the kettle on.

Links

Where to buy

Creative Team

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Mail Call: More Witches!

 Yeah...I am obsessed. Mail call today, and it was full of some great witch books.

Up first, another witch-centric RPG I backed on Kickstarter, Last Sabbath.

Last Sabbath RPG

Last Sabbath RPG

Last Sabbath RPG

Last Sabbath RPG Art, bookmark and pin
Last Sabbath RPG Art, bookmark and pin

The game looks phenomenal, and I want to try it out really soon.

And one I have been waiting 20+ years for.

The Bewitching Hour

Ashley Poston has a novel out about 17-year-old Tara, one of my all-time favorite witches. 

This is her pre-Sunnydale days, and I can't wait to jump into this.  And because I had a credit lying around, I picked it up on Audible as well.

The Bewitching Hour Audiobook

While I am sure the narrator will be great, it would have been nice to get Amber Benson to do it.

--

So yeah I *know* I am obsessed, and I know I catch some grief for it online, but you know what? 

I don't actually care.

This is my little corner of the Internet, and I get to do what I love here. And if that gets me 10 fans or 10,000*, then fantastic! Plenty of other sites out there that leave me scratching my head asking "who would even find that fun??" but hey, their sites, their rules. 

To quote Steve Martin, "The most amazing thing to me is, I get paid for doing this!"


(*It is less than 10,000, but a lot more than 10!)


Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Review: Doctor Who Second Edition Starter Set

Doctor Who Second Edition Starter Set
Running a little behind schedule this week. I took yesterday off of work and here. But back it!

Another new decade (2020s), another new actress to play the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker in 2018) and yes, a new edition of the Doctor Who role-playing game from Cubicle 7.  Now this time, it is a proper Second Edition. I teased this the other day with the 13th Doctor Sourcebook, but now time to get into the game proper. 

Doctor Who Second Edition Starter Set

For this review I am considering both the PDFs from DriveThruRPG and the physical boxed set from my FLGS.

The PDF contains the following files: 

  • 2-page Read This First file which covers the really basic basics of an RPG.
  • The Timeless Library Adventure Book. This 48-page Adventure as an Introduction covers a bunch of human characters looking for the Doctor. IT's not a bad introductory adventure and covers all sorts of different aspects of the game. I'll get into details in a moment.
  • The Echo Chamber is set up as a campaign guide building off of the adventure in the Timeless Library.  This 65-page book expands on the game-play ideas and shows how the game can be expanded. This one is of more use to new Gamemasters.
  • Character sheets 10 pages of 5 new characters to use for this set. No black sheets or companions from the show just yet.
  • There is a 4-page Reference sheet.
  • A file of Story Point tokens.
  • Box lid with some references.

The physical boxed set has all of these as well, with the addition of a set of d6s. I am now in the market for a new Doctor Who-themed dice bag.

Doctor Who 2nd Edition Boxed SetDoctor Who 2nd Edition Boxed Set

The box for this is extremely sturdy. It will last a long time.

Doctor Who 2nd Edition Boxed Set

Doctor Who 2nd Edition Boxed Set

Doctor Who 2nd Edition Boxed Set

Doctor Who 2nd Edition Boxed Set

Doctor Who 2nd Edition Boxed Set

Doctor Who 2nd Edition Boxed Set

Doctor Who 2nd Edition Boxed Set

Doctor Who 2nd Edition Boxed Set

This set is great for someone, or a group, that has never played an RPG before or has minimal exposure to them. Fans of the show would also enjoy this.

If you have the First Edition, this is a good introduction to the minor changes (and some major ones) to the Doctor Who RPG. Though players of the First Edition and gamers, in general, can skip right to the hardcover rules.

This set, though, is quite attractive and the same level of design I have come to associate with C7 is still here. 

If I were starting a new group with the Doctor Who RPG I would go to this first likely. It is very much the "Basic Set" the hardcover's "Advanced" rules. 

Monday, May 29, 2023

Review: The Doctor Who Sourcebooks

Not content just to give us a great game and material we can use to make our own adventures, Cubicle 7 took a huge leap and gave us guides and sourcebooks for all Thirteen of the major versions of the Doctor that have aired since 1963.

Doctor Who Sourcebooks


The spines feature the same trade-dress as the 50th Anniversary hardcover.  So you see they look nice all in row like this.

Doctor Who Sourcebooks

The covers feature the Doctor with some of his (and her) enemies from their run.  The Thirteenth Doctor is not pictured, played by Jodie Whittaker, only because it has not hit the stores yet. I will review the PDF here.

The logo on the cover of the first 11 is from the Jon Pertwee era (1970-1973) and for the 8th Doctor's movie in 1986.  Peter Capaldi's 12th Doctor uses the logo from Jodie's 13th Doctor era, and Jodie's 13th Doctor book uses the "new" logo which is the reuse of the old Tom Baker logo.

For this review, I am going to consider all the hardcover books I have, doctors 1 to 12, and the PDFs, Doctors 1 - 13.

All books differ in length but all have similar content. Each book begins with an introduction to that Doctor's era and some of the special things about it. For example, in the 3rd Doctor book we get a lot about his exile on Earth. Each book is filled with photos from that Doctor's time period, so a lot of black and white for the First and Second Doctor and of course ideas for adventures throughout.

If that is all it was, well, you need one book for that, and this is not what makes these books special.

Each book details every adventure that Doctor had on screen. While it is written from the point of view of the RPG (and this RPG in particular), the details are such that each one of these books is fascinating reading all on their own. This is great since so many of the early adventures/episodes are now lost and the old Target novelizations go for a king's ransom.

Also, each book details all the Doctor's companions and provides stats for them, the Doctor in question and most, if not all, the creatures they encounter.  Not since the Time Lord game of the 1990s have we had such a full accounting of all the companions.  I have not compared them outright but some companions here do fare better in terms of stats than their Time Lord counterparts. 

First Doctor Sourcebook
Doctor Who - The First Doctor Sourcebook

160 pages. Black & White photos. William Hartnell as the Doctor.

The original, you might say! This book is a treasure. There are so many of the First Doctor's stories I have never seen, and some I have only caught in novel or audiobook form. Getting a full reading of them all here is worth the book's price alone.  Getting RPG material is just a bonus.

Speaking of which there are plenty of stats for various adversaries here, as well as new gadgets, new Traits (both Good and Bad) and plenty of game seeds. 

Inside the pictures of the First Doctor are all William Hartnell. The spine though features Richard Hurndall in his turn as the First Doctor during the 20th Anniversary special The Five Doctors. 

Second Doctor Sourcebook
Doctor Who - The Second Doctor Sourcebook

160 pages. Black & White photos. Patrick Troughton as the Doctor

Like the First Doctor book this one features a lot of black & white photos (because that was what we had then).  The stats for the Doctor and the TARDIS are updated, as are any stats from returning villains like the Daleks and the new Cybermen. 

There are new Traits (Good and Bad) and more story/episode/adventure seeds as well. If anything the Second Doctor travels more in Space as well as Time, so seeing humanity out among the stars is a great treat.

Likewise, this one features stats for companions and creatures encountered, and the best part is a full detail of the Second Doctor's adventures. If anything, I have seen less of his stories than I have of the First.

The 3rd Doctor Sourcebook
Doctor Who - The Third Doctor Sourcebook

160 pages. Color photos. Jon Pertwee as the Doctor

This covers the time the Doctor was exiled on Earth and working with UNIT. We get stats for all his companions, the Brigadier, Liz Shaw, Jo Grant, Sgt. Benton, Capt. Yates and of course Sarah Jane Smith.  We also get details on the Doctor's disabled TARDIS. One would think lacking the ability to travel in time and space would be dull, but some of the greatest enemies of the Doctor has ever had. Including the proper introduction to the Master, the greatest enemy the Doctor has ever known. 

There are some tips on running UNIT based games, all the great vehicles that Pertwee seemed to love (and if the rumor is true was terrible at driving), and more.  There are tips to running adventures in the Third Doctor area and of course, the guide to all the Third Doctor's episodes.

The 4th Doctor Sourcebook
Doctor Who - The Fourth Doctor Sourcebook

256 pages. Color photos. Tom Baker as the Doctor

This book is much larger than the previous Doctor Who source books, and with good reason. Tom Baker was the Doctor for nearly seven years, twice as long as any previous Doctor and longer than actor after him (so far).

Here we get some of the Doctor's greatest tales of the classical series and also some great enemies. For companions, we get Sarah Jane Smith, Harry Sullivan, Leela, K-9 and both Romanas. Even a bit on Adric, Nyssa, and Teegan. I do like that Romana I and II each get full-sized Time Lord sheets and not the half-sheets of the other companions. 

The episode synopses are a joy to read. Takes me back the 80s and watching Doctor Who on KETC Channel 9 out of St. Louis. Having the RPG stats of all these creatures is also quite a joy. This includes the introduction of Davros, the creator of the Daleks, and the White and Black Guardians.

There is even a special appendix for the "lost" episode of "Shada."

The 6th Doctor Sourcebook
Doctor Who - The Fifth Doctor Sourcebook

160 pages. Color photos. Peter Davidson as the Doctor

The 80s began with a new Doctor, a new title sequence and a new direction for the Doctor (and the show) under the helm of John Nathan-Turner. The 6th Doctor Sourcebook has us all covered. 

Again we have all the Doctor's Companions, Adric, Nyssa, and Teegan, and later on Turlogh, Kamleion, and Peri. Updates to the Doctor's sheet and the TARDIS. 

Again we get the episodes from the Fifth Doctor's adventures including all his adversaries. We get the Anothony Ainely Master (introduced at the end of the Tom Baker era) and quite a lot more. 

The 6th Doctor Sourcebook
Doctor Who - The Sixth Doctor Sourcebook

160 pages. Color photos. Colin Baker as the Doctor

Controversial at the time (and he didn't even get his own title sequence, just a modified version of the 5th Doctor's) the Sixth Doctor was more 80s than the Fifth Doctor was. 

In addition to all of the things we expect to see here, updated stats for the Doctor and his TARDIS, companions (Peri and Mel), episode guide and adversaries, we get a lot of detail on the season-long arc "The Trial of a Time Lord."  We used to joke that the CGI (primitive by today's standards, but amazing then) was so expensive that it blew sfx budget for the whole season. What it lacked in visual splash it made up for in storytelling. This was an arc worthy of the new series and the authors here choose not to waste it.

This one also sees the introduction of the Rani, another deadly renegade Time Lady.

The Seventh Doctor Sourcebook
Doctor Who - The Seventh Doctor Sourcebook

160 pages. Color photos. Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor

I like Sylvester McCoy's Doctor and in him, you can see all the elements of the later Doctor Who series beginning. There is a darkness about the Doctor and that begins to show through now. Obviously, this book takes advantage of that. 

We get companions Mel and Ace, the only two he had. Sabalom Glitz is included as a companion, which is fine by me, better than the status the Timelord RPG gave him.  But lets be honest here, you buy this book for Ace, one of the best companions ever.

Like the other books there are new Traits (both Good and Bad), new equipment (Nitro-9!) and the ever-present episode guide. I loved reading these since the Seven Doctor was on TV while I was in college. The cable stations did not carry it but the TV my brother (who was living with me then) wired up in the basement with an antenna did. These are some of my favorite episodes and seeing them all here again was quite a treat.

The 8th Doctor sourcebook
Doctor Who - The Eighth Doctor Sourcebook

192 pages. Color photos. Paul McGann as the Doctor

Paul McGann only got a single movie, and an American made one no less. He did get appear in a short many years later, The Night of the Doctor, which brought him back into the continuity a little bit better. So why is his book larger than Doctors who had years?

Simple. This one also has a full-length campaign featuring the 8th Doctor.

This book is also a great place for ideas on how to fix various "continuity" issues. Is the Doctor half-human? Who are his companions Charley, C’rizz, Lucie, Tamsin, and Molly? There is quite a lot here really and it makes me want to have some adventures featuring the 8th Doctor.

The 9th Doctor Sourcebook
Doctor Who - The Ninth Doctor Sourcebook

160 pages. Color photos. Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor

Sadly, the wonderful Fantastic Ninth Doctor only go one season and really just one full-time companion, though Captain Jack Harkness did travel with them for the last half. 

"You know what they call me in the ancient legends of the Dalek homeworld? The Oncoming Storm." That is who the Ninth Doctor is. This particular book is great because just like the in the series you get the feeling that the Ninth Doctor has been forgotten by the RPG. The first set focused on the Tenth, then the Eleventh. The hardcovers focus on all of the Doctors, with Nine getting lost in the shuffle, and then Twelve and Thirteen. So it is good to see this Doctor again.

This book also handily fixes the old "When did the Doctor work with UNIT" debate. While the FASA Who game moved everything to the 1980s this game takes the route that the Last Great Time War sent ripples of causality in Time and Space. Changing how and when things happened. The Doctor (and the viewers) remember it one way, but the rest of the universe another. Why? Their histories were changed and they never knew it. Some of this is explored with some very detailed history of the various Dalek invasions of Earth. That is how can the Battle of Canary Wharf (10th doctor) be forgotten in the future in Dalek (9th Doctor)? 

We also get some more explanation of human psychic ability here. 

The 10th Doctor sourcebook
Doctor Who - The Tenth Doctor Sourcebook

256 pages. Color photos. David Tennant as the Doctor

If one actor can be given credit for the renewed popularity of Doctor Who then it has to belong to David Tennant in his run as the 10th Doctor, though Matt Smith should get a lot of credit as well. 

This book is a must have for any fan of the Tenth Doctor and/or this particular RPG. Great detail is gone into all the Tenth Doctor's episodes and nearly everyone one and everything he encounters.  We get the various new Traits here, but also new Alien Traits and new Gadget Traits as well.

Honestly quite a lot of detail is given over to all this Doctor's episodes. Rightly so too since these are the episodes that have set the tone for the new series and for this RPG. If you want to know how the Cubicle 7 RPG is to be run, then this is your place to start. After the core books of course.

The 11th Doctor sourcebook
Doctor Who - The Eleventh Doctor Sourcebook

256 pages. Color photos. Matt Smith as the Doctor

Matt Smith's 11th Doctor runs a very, very close second in terms of the popularity of "modern" Doctors. My only personal belief is he was more popular here in the US, but that could just be how I perceive things. 

We get his companions, of course, but in particular, we get Clara and River Song, two of the companions that changed everything for the Doctor. In fact if there is an axiom about the 11th Doctor it is rules are made to be broken. 

Also, we get Rory Williams. What about Rory? Well, when Chuck Norris was a baby, he would ask his mother to make sure Rory Williams wasn't hiding in the closet to get him at night. He waited for Amy for 2000 years. He punched Hitler. He punched the Doctor twice. 

This book gives us more details about the War Doctor and more about what we learned about the Time War during the 11th Doctor's episodes.

The 12th Doctor sourcebook
Doctor Who - The Twelfth Doctor Sourcebook

160 pages. Color photos. Peter Capaldi as the Doctor

The book uses the trade dress of the then-current 13th Doctor with elements of the 12th Doctor and the Sourcebook series.

I liked the 12th Doctor's run. It felt like the stories of the Classical Doctors. The chief advantage of this book are the Doctor's companions, some of the most interesting he has ever had in my opinion. Like Clara, Bill Potts, Ashildr, even Missy (the regenerated Master), and of course River and Nardole.

There is information here on the Post-War Gallifrey and what they do until the end of the Universe. There stats of the Mr. Saxon/Master along with Missy and the First Doctor as he appears in the Doctor Falls.

A lot of great ideas for adventures here.

The 13th Doctor sourcebook
Doctor Who - The Thirteenth Doctor Sourcebook

192 pages. Color photos. Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor

The book uses the trade dress of the new Doctor (14th and 15th, 2023) with elements of the 13th Doctor and the Sourcebook series.  This one is the only one I have in PDF only, with the hardcover due out later this year. 

Confession time. I liked the 13th Doctor. I like Jodie Whittaker as an actress and as the 13th Doctor. I just don't think the scripts were very good.

Maybe even more so than the Twelfth Doctor this Doctor and this book feels like a small reboot.  There are many reasons for this.

Primarily this is a sourcebook for the Second Edition Doctor Who RPG. So there are internal differences from the other books in addition to minor rule changes. 

This book includes stats for the new Master, the Fugitive Doctor (Jo Martin), Teegan, and Ace (in 2021).

Teegan and Ace

There is also an adventure at the very end.

All of these books are absolutely fantastic. Not just in terms of episode guides but also additions to the RPG (both editions). Kudos to Cubicle 7 for these.